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Think before you buy when travelling overseas

Nov 01 2016 12:13

Cape Town - International travel has taken off enormously all over the world. Over one billion international travellers traversed the globe in 2015, which was the 6th consecutive year of increased growth in international travel, according to CNN.

And this was true for many South Africans too – that is, until the rand went into a tailspin in December last year.

International travel now seems like a luxury few can afford, and with a fluctuating currency, you can’t always predict how much more you’ll be paying a few months down the line. But, with appropriate planning and some thought about how you will spend your funds, it’s still possible to go on that dream foreign holiday without spending a good part of your future, working off credit card debt.

Danny Bryer, director of sales, marketing and revenue management at Protea Hotels by Marriott, provides some tips on how to keep your costs under control, and insulate yourself from a fluctuating currency.

Tips:

- Decide how much you can spend on your holiday – in rand terms only – and then plan within that budget. If you are too flexible about this, your trip may end up costing you quite a bit more than you planned;

- If your funds are limited, consider a package holiday that includes accommodation and two meals a day. This will ensure that you know upfront what the trip is going to cost. Also, consider a 3-star instead of a 4-star hotel, so that you have some funds left over for a few extras while you’re away;

- An important element of planning your trip concerns your foreign currency. If you’re going to take along some forex cash, or transfer funds into a foreign currency card, split the transactions for this. Check the exchange rates every day and do a transaction on a day when the rand is a bit stronger. You can do this more than once if you have time before your trip so that you get the best out of days when the currency is a bit stronger;  

- Your choice of destination is a big factor. A trip to New York or London will definitely set you back quite a bit but you’ll find it far more affordable if you choose countries like Thailand, Bali, Vietnam, India, Turkey and some states in Eastern Europe, where the rand will take you further;

- Another issue to consider is the cost (and hassle) of getting visas. A trip that takes in London and various European capitals can cost a few thousand rand in visa fees alone, so rather visit countries without costly visa requirements;

- If you are a member of a loyalty programme, look carefully at how you can use your rewards to fund your trip. For example, with Marriott Rewards, you can use your points for accommodation across the globe, or to pay for meals and drinks at the hotel, or for your flights. Clever use of rewards points can translate into big savings.

- Be flexible about which airline you travel on;

- When it comes to food, eating out at restaurants for every meal every day of the trip will gobble up your budget quickly. Look for accommodation with some sort of self-catering facility – a full kitchen or just a microwave and fridge – so that you don’t have to eat out all the time. Shopping for food in a supermarket will definitely be a whole lot cheaper than eating in a restaurant.

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protea hotels  |  marriott  |  travel and leissure  |  money  |  tourism  |  rand
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